Christopher S. Patterson

Member | 517.381.0100
Practice Areas: Municipal, Litigation

Overview & Experience

Chris applies his affinity for solving complex, technical problems to his work in general municipal law, land use and zoning law, administrative law, civil and appellate litigation as well as commercial and residential real property issues. These experiences and skills enable Chris to capably manage matters — big and small — for his municipal clients and bring an extraordinary and informed insight into the judicial process.

He is focused on finding practical solutions to the issues faced by his clients that balance achieving effective, timely results while remaining cost-conscious. Chris takes pride in the creativity he employs to find alternative resolutions to his clients’ problems, and his efforts and protecting and navigating his clients through complex legal issues.

He is committed to a high level of perfection and responsiveness – his clients are his top priority.

Chris joined the firm in 2013. Prior to that, he served for two years as law clerk for the Hon. Lawrence P. Zatkoff, Federal District Court Judge.

Away from the office, Chris loves hanging out with his wife, racing mountain bikes, and wrenching on cars.



  • Protect municipalities against Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act claims;
  • Handle zoning and planning, constitutional claims, and various complex civil litigation and appeals;
  • Advise on municipal ordinance authority and prepared ordinances for adoption on varying substantive areas, including zoning, ethics, franchises, wind energy, solar energy, and marihuana
  • Reviewed and rewrote multiple zoning ordinances to comply with state law changes, produce clarity, and increase protections for the local municipality
  • Develop ordinance enforcement strategies and assist in code enforcement to decrease costs and increase successful outcomes for municipalities
  • Assist in collection of delinquent personal property collection
  • Advise on joint authorities and inter-municipal agreement, including establishing new authority, dissolving authorities, withdrawing from authorities, and drafting contracts
  • Removal of dangerous buildings and recovery of removal costs
  • Establish tax increment financing authorities and advising on capture issues and operation issues
  • Prepare development agreements for innovative development projects within municipalities
  • Establish special assessments for municipalities to fund improvements
  • Prepare ballot proposals for new and renewal millages

Publications & Presentations

As presenter:

  • Regulating Wind Energy Projects: MATS Spring Education Conference, 2015
  • Delinquent Personal Property Tax Collection: Treasurers of Eaton County, 2015
  • Dealing with Distressed Properties: MATS Fall Education Conference, 2015
  • What Direction is the Supreme Court Pointing with Sign Regulation? Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, 2016; Livingston County Planning Commission, 2016
  • Recent Land Use Topics: Signs, Noise, Land Diversions and Drones: MATS Spring Seminar, 2016
  • Winning the Zoning Game, Newly Elected Township Officials Workshop: 2016
  • Regulating Medical Marihuana: MATS Midwinter Conference, 2017; MAMC Master Academy Session, 2017; CLE International Cannabis Law Conference, 2017
  • Faster and Less Expensive Ordinance Enforcement: MTA Conference, 2017
  • 2000 Consent Decree Overview: Michigan Steelhead & Salmon Fishermen’s Association, 2017; Metro West Steelheaders, 2017
  • What Should a Township Supervisor Expect from the Other Members of the Township Board? MATS Summer Conference, 2017
  • Regulating Medical Marihuana in Your Community and in Your Workplace: Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, 2017
  • Financing Joint Fire and Emergency: MTA 2018
  • Current Township Water and Sewer Issues: MTA 2018
  • Marihuana in the Michigan Workplace: Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, 2018
  • Regulating Medical Marihuana and Recreational Marihuana: MATS Fall Conference, 2018
  • Event Barns: Avoid the Pitfalls: MTA 2019
  • Eye in the Sky: Regulation and use of Drones by Local Government: MTA 2019
  • Lead and Copper Rule Changes — What Do We Do Now? MTA 2019
  • Faster and Less Expensive Ordinance Enforcement: MTA Zoning Seminar, 2019
  • Township Governance: Evaluating the Interactions of Township Boards, Commissions and Committees: MATS Fall Conference, 2019
  • Deploying High-speed Internet in Your Township: MATS Fall Conference, 2019
  • Adult-use Marihuana: Is Now the Time to Allow Marihuana Establishments? MATS Fall Conference, 2019
  • Joint Fire and Emergency Service Agreements and Authorities: MTA Emergency Services Workshop, 2019
  • How to Control Access to Confidential Information: Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association, 2019

Honors & Education


  • Michigan State University College of Law, J.D., 2010, magna cum laude
  • Western Michigan University, B.S., political science, minor in real estate, 2007, summa cum laude


  • Michigan


  • Super Lawyer’s Michigan Rising Stars 2019
  • Top 5 Under 35, Ingham County Bar Association

Professional Activities


  • Executive Council of the State of Michigan Administrative and Regulatory Law Section, 2016–present
  • Chair, State Bar of Michigan Administrative and Regulatory Law Section, 2018
  • Co-chair, Ingham County Bar Association, Real Estate Section
  • Member, Appellate Practice Section, Government Law Section, and Marihuana Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan


  • Co-race director and volunteer, Cannonsburg Duathlon Charity Race in conjunction with Village of Cannonsburg events
  • Team manager/co-founder, D2Labs Racing, an endurance sport racing team focused on bringing new enthusiasts into the sport of cycling